Tombstone (1993)

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Hollywood once again retells the story of the legendary lawman Wyatt Earp, this time in the guise of Kurt Russell.

Add Val Kilmer, Sam Neill, and Bill Paxton into the mix and what you get doesn’t exactly scream “A list” but what you do have is an ensemble cast that gels particularly well; this is an example of a film that manages to be more than the sum of its parts. The bond of brotherhood and friendship between the Earps and Doc Holliday feels genuine and Kilmer clearly relishes the scene-stealing part of the sickly gentleman adrenaline junkie. Powers Booth and Michael Biehn also make charismatic villains, the scenes between Biehn and Kilmer being particularly sharp and the Peckinpah-esque shoot outs extremely well staged. In fact the shoot out at the O.K. Corral is one of the best versions yet filmed.

It does occasionally slip into melodrama – Morgan’s death being the prime example – and the climax is a little montage happy and feels rushed as a result, but it’s a great slice of old school popular entertainment that’s a lot more engaging than Kevin Costner’s self important bore released the same year.

7.5/10

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